I can not believe that another Christmas has come and gone. The approach is always the same, cluttered, frenzied and inconceivably dragged out yet when the runway comes into sight, the final descent is over in the blink of an eye. It happens the same every year. For us, the final surge to the end of the cyclocross racing season compounds this, as the weeks tick by up to the final local event, only a week or so before Christmas. Of course I realize that it wouldn't matter if it were cyclocross, school or church holiday events, the frenzied retail season at work or just trying to the get the Christmas shopping and holiday festivities in order, the time escapes everyone.I guess that is the common theme here, time running away from us.
This year we did basically the same that we have done the past couple of years, that being to visit my folks on Christmas Eve and then be home for Christmas day itself. Cathy's folks head to Florida for part of the winter so had left not long after our Thanksgiving. They came to visit us the weekend after Thanksgiving and we had a nice, early Christmas with them. We even went and picked out a Christmas tree together, which was very nice. Christmas Eve with my family was nice as well. The weather was good for travel and we just went up and back that day, which makes for a fair amount of driving but also makes it all easier to manage. It was good to see everyone and visit if for only a brief time. We even made it back home with time to go out for a brisk night ride to take in some of the lights around town.
Christmas Day arrived with us groggy from the previous day and sluggish to get out of bed. It is infrequent that we have no plans and no place to be, so lounged in comfort of sleeping late. Finally we arose, as much because the cats were ready for breakfast and thus on a tear as anything. Cathy made banana pancakes and sausage and we listened to Christmas music, a staple at our house since Thanksgiving.
Eventually we made our way to the couch and started in on the gifts to each other. It was a good year for both of us and we each received some wonderful presents. I gave Cathy some sporting gear, as always, some new slippers and redundant pants, as well as a new anniversary ring. No, it isn't our anniversary but I wanted to give her something special that would help to let her know how much I appreciate everything that she does for me and how she is what keeps me going every day. Well, mostly her, but the kittens help as well.
She gave me an incredible new Cannondale Scalpel mountain bike (with the help of Chris) which I can't wait to try out. She also gave me a picture book that she had made from the year's adventures. This was possibly the most touching gift that I have ever received and it meant a lot to me. Cathy had actually done an online version of the same thing for our 10th anniversary a couple years back. It is also very special to me, as is she.
The tradition as it has come to be is for Cathy and I to do a mountain bike ride on Christmas Day. Luckily the weather would have us be able to continue that tradition for another year. We went in and rode the PR for a couple of hours. Conditions were pretty good and there were the remains of the dusting of snow that we got overnight. The temperature had crept above freezing though so the precious white blanket of snow was quickly melting away. The important thing though was that we were out doing that which we like to do, together, celebrating the day. Cathy had the reindeer antlers on her helmet which prompted smiles and friendly greetings from many we passed along the way. Everyone seemed nicer and friendlier, if only for the day.
As the day wrapped up we watched the final run of A Christmas Story, which strangely enough, has come to mark the end of another Christmas. I'm always sad to see it go because I love the season so much. It was a great season and has been a great year in so many ways. Thankfully I have my gift from my wife by which to remember it.